70% of CEOs say that their networks have negative effects on their businesses, but they still feel it’s crucial to maintain them. Networks play a critical role in the success of any organization. But security breaches are a major concern for IT departments.
Data network security is no longer just about keeping information safe from hackers. It’s also about preserving the reputation of your business and fulfilling customer expectations.
A solid network security plan will keep your employees safe from having their data stolen and protect your company from legal and financial repercussions. Read on to learn how to create a data network security plan that will protect your business from data loss.
What Is a Data Network?
A data network is a system that transfers information between two or more devices. These networks can be wired or wireless, and they are usually private.
Migrating to a Data Network
The hub and spoke model has been the de facto standard for networking for decades. It involves a central data team, known as the hub. This group manages big data projects.
The hub delegates each project to teams called spokes. The spokes own the data for their particular project.
While this strategy used to be very effective, it’s no longer as efficient or successful. Because the hub and spoke model is hierarchical, it’s slow to respond to changing business needs.
For example, you may have a business that needs to migrate data from IBM to Salesforce. To do this, you first need approval from the hub team. Then, they must coordinate with the spokes that manage each of the datasets in question.
This process can take weeks or months, depending on how busy everyone is with other projects. As the digital economy grows, organizations need to quickly and securely transfer data between locations. This is the advantage of having a data network.
The data network is a flexible solution that can support any data transfer scenario.
Common IT Challenges
As more people use wireless networks and mobile devices, there’s an increased risk of someone hacking into your network and stealing sensitive data from it. A cyber attack happens every 39 seconds, and it’s becoming more challenging for IT teams to keep up with threats.
Another challenge is network performance. If you have dozens of employees using computers simultaneously, someone will likely experience a slow internet connection throughout the workday.
Data networks can provide secure access points to help with cyber threat prevention. They’ll also help you transfer data more quickly and reduce network congestion. Employees will enjoy faster, more secure connectivity, which will make them more productive.
How to Develop a Data Network Security Strategy
Developing a comprehensive data network security strategy is an ongoing process. The best approach to developing such a plan is to base it on a risk assessment.
First, identify the threats that could affect your data. This includes theft, unauthorized access, and loss of data. Next, assess the likelihood of each threat occurring and the impact it could have on your business.
Once you know which threats are most likely to occur, you can determine the best ways to prevent them from happening. This may include updating your technology or adding additional layers of security.
Cloud Security Strategy
Whether you know it or not, your organization is using a wide variety of cloud-based services to run its business. Cloud computing is associated with a greater risk of internal cyber attacks than maintaining your own servers.
This is because the cloud makes it easier to access sensitive data. It’s also difficult to track who has been using that information.
For data loss prevention, add multi-factor authentication to your data security plan. Multi-factor authentication requires you to provide two or more pieces of information before you can access your account. This may include a password, PIN code, or biometric authentication like fingerprint scanning.
If someone doesn’t have access to all the necessary information, then they can’t get in. You can decrease insider threats by ensuring that only authorized employees have access to sensitive data.
Encryption works by scrambling data into an unrecognizable form. When implemented correctly, it should protect against data theft.
There are two primary encryption methods: public key and private key.
With public-key encryption, the sender uses a key to encrypt data. The receiver has a private key that forms the other half of this pair. The receiver can use this to decrypt messages.
In private key encryption, senders and receivers share a secret key. The private key encryption method is faster and more secure than public key encryption. The problem with private key encryption is that users can lose the secret key, which makes it impossible to decrypt any messages encrypted with it.
Industries such as health care and finance are required by law to apply encryption to all data stored or transferred through digital means. Organizations risk losing money if they don’t comply with the regulations.
The goal of data backup is to create a copy of your files that you can use if something happens to your original files or hard drive. You can create backups on an external hard drive, a USB flash drive, or even in the cloud.
You should back up your data at least once a week. If you work with sensitive data every day, consider performing a backup every 24 hours. You should also back up your data before making major changes to your computer that could affect the files.
Have a data security policy in place that outlines how employees should handle sensitive information, such as passwords and login credentials. For example, if an employee loses their password, the policy should state that they should contact IT immediately.
Cybersecurity awareness training educates employees about the company’s vulnerabilities and threats to business operations. This training should be mandatory for employees. You can provide it as a seminar or a webinar, depending on your team’s workload.
You must arrange ongoing training that focuses on emerging threats and new technologies. Basic training should concentrate on:
- The importance of cyber security in the workplace
- What employees can do to protect themselves
- How to spot phishing scams
The training plan should meet the needs of your business. If your team doesn’t use email often, for example, then you may not need a training program with lessons on phishing scams.
Test your security controls using a vulnerability scanning tool or a thorough manual audit. Testing is the only way to know whether your systems are secure.
You can also hire ethical hackers to conduct penetration tests on your network. A penetration test is when someone tries to break into your system and find vulnerabilities. If they’re successful, then you’ll be able to fix the problem before it’s exploited by a malicious hacker.
Managing IT Vendors
IT network support solutions can be a challenge to manage. You need to ensure that your IT vendors are up-to-date on the latest security protocols and have sufficient resources to handle any issues that arise.
Ask for References
Before you sign on with a new IT network support solution, ask for references from previous clients. You may also want to perform an online search to see if there are any complaints against them.
Confirm that your IT service provider updates their software and hardware regularly. This is especially important if the devices you use aren’t updated automatically by the manufacturer. You should also make it a point to update any software on your computers, such as Microsoft Office, as soon as an update is available.
The company should provide a demo that’s at least a few hours long. This will give you enough time to see how they handle an actual network problem and what steps they take to resolve it.
Their customer service should be easy to reach, whether you’re calling or emailing them. If you have questions, their staff should be able to quickly answer them and provide a solution.
The price should be reasonable, and the contract should include a termination clause. If you have to cancel your contract early, they shouldn’t charge you an additional fee.
Protect Your Company’s IT Infrastructure
Developing an effective data network security strategy is a complex process that requires considerable planning and coordination. If you already have an existing network, then it’s important to conduct routine audits of its components. Consider how you can update them to better resist future threats, such as malware attacks.
Protecting your company goes beyond securing your data. Read our business section for more ways to ensure your company’s longevity.